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Cristiano Ronaldo: Euro 2024 assist ‘very special’ – Portugal boss Martinez

The captain has scored in one of Portugal's last five games

Ronaldo playing football for Portugal

Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez has said viewers “saw something very special” when Cristiano Ronaldo chose to set up Bruno Fernandes rather than take aim himself in their 3-0 win over Turkiye at Uefa Euro 2024.

Record international scorer Ronaldo was bearing down on goal when he squared a pass to his team-mate to slot in ten minutes after the break in a win which sent Portugal through as Group F winners.

“A great striker gets one on one with the keeper and he looks for an assist,” said Martinez. “We saw something vey special today.

“What a great example. It should be shown in academies across Portugal, that selflessness – the fact that it’s always about the team.”

Cristiano Ronaldo stats

The assist was Ronaldo’s 47th for Portugal and his first in four international matches, helping his side continue their perfect start to the tournament after coming from behind to beat Czechia with a 92nd-minute winner in their opener.

Ronaldo is appearing at a record sixth edition of the finals and has started both games, although he is yet to add to his tally of 130 goals in 208 Portugal appearances.

Defender Pepe also became the oldest ever player to feature in a Euro game when he played in the win over Czechia. “As a neutral watching Pepe play, you wouldn’t believe he was 41,” said Martinez.

“He’s a great example of Portuguese football. He is a professional for 24 hours a day – he trains, he sleeps right. The focus is on playing another year, then another one. Then there’s a love of the game and genetics – you can’t buy that.

“We played at the same level as we did against Czechia, but this time we scored first. Turkiye started well but we stood up to it and once we’d scored, we controlled it.”

Portugal Euro 2024 schedule

Portugal face competition newcomers Georgia on Wednesday and will play the best third-placed team from Group A, B or C in the Round of 16 on July 1.

“Now we can give some of the other players in the dressing room a game – they deserve it,” said Martinez. “This wasn’t an easy game.

“Turkiye have exceptional talent but we stopped them playing. The high tempo put it in our hands, we kept focus and defensive concentration. I’m delighted to get the clean sheet.”

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.